You know Carl and Ellie Fredrickson? Or that cute kid Russell? Now, what do they have in common?
Yes – they are all in the movie Up. And being a fan of the movie made me put riding in a hot air balloon or at least seeing one on my bucket list. And last February 23, 2013 I was able to make that dream happen.
When Sensei invited me, there was no bit of hesitation. And when that day came, straight from work I went to the airport, fetched Sensei and meet Irene-San and Grace-San for the first time. From Pasay, with no sleep at all, we went directly to Pampanga to witness the 18th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. As we were on our way, I remembered what Charles Muntz said in the movie, “Adventure is out there!” That made me giggle secretly.
The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is an annual event every February held in Omni Aviation Complex in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. It started in 1994 spearheaded by the Department of Tourism, aiming to make the Philippines as one of the leading sports aviation in Asia.
The Hot Air Balloon was just actually part of what was our main intention in Pampanga but for me it was of equal priority. After looking for a space to park we then headed to the main entrance wait for our tickets then poof, the balloon was just right in front of me and true to what their tagline is, it was really a weekend of everything that flies.
Because of amazement, I wasn’t able to count the number of balloons during that day. (As if it’s mandatory for me to do it.) I have seen one with the firetruck design, there’s one that looks like a bouquet of flowers and there are also regular shape balloons. Unfortunately my favorite balloon, the Sun with the It’s More Fun in the Philippines signature in it wasn’t able to fly that day.
My favorite part of all was the Breitling Jet Team exhibition. They put up a good 30 minutes of jaw-dropping aerial show. And indeed the best way to end their exhibition was with an awesome display of fireworks.
If so happen that you weren’t able to come last February 22-24, 2013, you still have next year and many years to come. Better mark that calendar already.
How to get to Clark, Pampanga:
Take a bus from Pasay or Cubao Station to Dau, Pampanga. Travel takes around 2 hours. From Dau Terminal, you can board a jeepney (10 php) that can take you directly to the festival venue or alternatively, you can also rent a trike (50-70 php per trike).
Bus fare costs less than 150 php.